Brand loyalty may be a smaller force in the car market than previously thought, according to a study by Auto Trader.

The study revealed that just 32% of used car buyers stick to the same make on their next purchase, and 47% of new car buyers changed brands between purchases. Volkswagen experienced the greatest brand loyalty, with 26% of owners repeat buying.

These findings contrast with car owners preferences on their car type, wherein 81% of used owners will buy a used car on their next purchase, and 76% of new car owners will repeat buy a new car.

Chris Ward, advertising director at AutoTrader, said: “Consumers may be habitual in their buying pattern but brands clearly have a window of opportunity to influence their purchase early on in the process.

“A targeted marketing campaign which employs the right advert, aimed at the right audience, and on the right channel, can be very effective in directing buyers to not only a new car, but also to a specific brand.”

Less than half of all consumers chose the same body type on their subsequent car purchase, numbering just 41% of new car buyers. New hatchback drivers were found to be the most consistent, with 38% choosing to another hatchback when buying their next car.